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Living with Addiction

by Nic Sheff

Age Range: 15 & up

Pub Date: April 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-08082-8
Publisher: Little, Brown

In a raw, honest and expletive-ridden narrative, 23-year-old Sheff effectively chronicles the ups and downs of trying to overcome his methamphetamine addiction and pull his life together. Fortunately, the author is not as whiny or narcissistic in this memoir as he was in his first, Tweak (2008), though he still manages to be quite unlikable and astonishingly unsympathetic. Sheff bounces in and out of two detox centers and impulsively into an ill-considered live-in relationship with a girl in Charleston, S.C. (A disclaimer at the beginning indicates that "[c]ertain names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed.") His good intentions are frequently thwarted by bad decisions. Frustration with a dead-end job in a coffee shop leads him to chronic alcohol consumption and pot smoking, once more testing the patience of loved ones. His frequent bouts of self-pity and rationalization, along with the constant use of "fucking" and "goddamn," quickly become tiresome. The author is forthright about the hypocrisy he feels when he speaks at schools about the dangers of drug abuse while still smoking pot daily. When he declares, "I am an asshole," it's impossible to disagree. He manages to end on a somewhat hopeful note: "I've got to hold on, is all," he says. It's painfully honest—but also painful to read, likely guaranteeing avid teen interest. (Memoir. 15 & up)